J.D. Salinger - Hartog Letters

Scope and Content

The collection contains 50 typed letters and 4 postcards sent by Salinger (or Jerry, as he signed them) to Don. An additional letter is dated 1943, from Salinger's father, Sol, to Don. There are a few enclosures.

Administrative / Biographical History

J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) author of the bestselling novel Catcher in the Rye (1951)and Donald Hartog (1919-2007) met in 1937 in Vienna. They were both 18 years old and had been sent to Vienna by their fathers to learn German. Salinger was at the time also learning the meat trade

In March 1938 Salinger returned to the US to pursue his studies. The war years followed and both friends were involved in active service. They corresponded for some years but these earlier letters, up until the 1950s, have not survived.

In 1986 Don decided to get in touch with Salinger and revive their acquaintance. The letters in this collection cover this period (1986-2002).

The two friends enjoyed a reunion in England in 1989 to mark their joint 70th birthdays (their first meeting since 1938) and a further meeting took place in the US in 1994.

Salinger was something of a celebrated literary recluse. These rather ordinary letters reveal an ordinary man enjoying an ordinary life. He spent most days writing, he enjoyed the winter, the company of family, short trips away, evening suppers in the local community, a particular brand of hamburger, and watching tennis on TV.

The letters do little to answer the question as to what he may have been writing, fiction certainly, but he gives little away, save that his earlier publishing success had brought him sufficient earnings so as not to feel he had to publish again. In a letter dated 11 April 1991 Salinger confirms that he had been writing away for 25 years, but that he couldn't give a clear account of what it is or what he may do with it.


The letters are arranged chronologically.

Access Information

Other than where a specific access restriction is noted, the collection is available for consultation by appointment by researchers and interested members of the public.

Acquisition Information

This collection of correspondence was left to Donald Hartog's children on his death in 2007. His daughter, Frances Hartog gifted the letters and postcards to the University of East Anglia Archives in January 2011

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

The Salinger Estate is the copyright holder. Under UK Copyright Law this means that the correspondence cannot be exhibited, performed or read out, translated, copied, or quoted from directly by ourselves or any researchers visiting UEA's Archives, without the written permission of the Estate as copyright holder. Any photocopying, photographing or scanning of the letters is also prohibited.

Furthermore, the Estate has confirmed that permission for publication will not be granted.